Anguilla Local News

Mimi Bay is a classic hidden spot in Anguilla--down the end of a long, obscure, dirt road, suddenly you come to a perfect little bay, serene and beautiful. . . .

[Click for a larger view of Mimi Bay-east side]
 September 15, 1997 - Site Map.

Hidden Anguilla: Mimi Bay

Mimi Bay is located on the southeastern shore, between Seafeathers Bay and Sile Bay, facing the open Atlantic, but protected by reefs. I went swimming there and it wasn't rough, but the water was stirred up at the west end of the beach (as you can see in the picture below, the western side terminates suddenly at a rocky shore). The eastern end is more protected, with clearer water, but the shore and bottom have more rocks. Looks like it might be good snorkelling, and there are shells at that end too.

This is not a perfect crescent beach like Cove Bay, but it is remote and wild and fun. The closest house is almost a kilometer away. The size is nice - about 1/3 mile long - the sand is nice, the swimming is nice. There are no services and no shade. A good place to commune with nature. By the time I got there down this unmarked dirt road, I thought I was an adventure explorer. But, to my surprise there were 5 other people also enjoying Mimi Bay! [Click for larger view of Mimi Bay-west side]

Directions: I recommend 4-wheel drive or high clearance. From The Valley, take Coronation Blvd east through the light at Albert Lake's gas station (etc.) and into the Quarter and the Farrington. At the roundabout, take the right fork to Sandy Hill. When you pass East End Primary School, take the next right on a paved road up a slight hill. At the top of the hill, take the first left on a dirt road. Follow that road for 1.1 KM to the coast, ignoring all tempting left forks and keeping to the right.

News Items from Anguilla

You Can Help Anguilla! We are apparently scheduled to lose our 809 area code in two weeks, replaced by our new 264 area code which has been active for the last 5 months. However, there are now hundreds (perhaps thousands?) of telephone switching centers around the world and many of them have ignored the messages from Cable and Wireless to update their systems. As a result, there are still places where you cannot dial 264. On October 1st, people in those areas may not be able to call Anguilla anymore. You get an odd message like "do not dial 1 before a local call". When you try 809 instead, it may not work. If this happens to you please call your local phone company and ask them to program 264 into their computers as the area code for Anguilla.

Wilderness Expeditions Comes to Arawak. John Willard who owns a resort and outdoor adventure company in Maine reports that his firm will be managing the Arawak Beach Club in Island Harbor. They will be offering sea kayaking, mountain biking, snorkeling and diving trips, starting in December. Prices begin at $650 pp. We will have more details as it gets closer to opening. Visit their web page, email John, or call 1-800-825-9453

New Deputy Governer. Roger Cousins is the new Deputy Governer in Anguilla. His previous appointment was as the Chief Secretary on the Turks and Caicos Islands.

"Taste of the Caribbean" draws Vernon Hughes from Cinammon Reef, George Reid (Chattertons), Zeff Bonsey (Sonesta), Marc Alvarez (CoveCastles) and Pascal Baronnier (Koal Keel desserts) to Puerto Rico for a competition.

"Top a de Line Roots Riddem." Islie Dabasha (Leslie Brookes) has produced a new CD with nine local artists in 14 songs. All the recording and mixing was done at his Anguillian Rainbow Recording Studio (see the sign to it off the Long Road).

Restaurant Update. Open as usual are Aquarius, Carib Cafe, Chattertons, Madeariman Reef, Pepperpot, Old Caribe, Palm Grove, Paradise Lounge, Ripples, Riviera, Roy's Place, Ship's Galley, Smitty's and Uncle Ernie's. Everyone else is "gone fishin", reopening October 5th through mid-November. [List courtesy the AHTA.]

Rendezvous Bay Hotel is adding a health and spirit rejuvenation program for this winter, with vegetarian menu, diet and exercise programs. Hattic Wiener of New York City is the creator of RetroAge, the Four Step Program to Reverse the Aging Process and will be residence, as will nutritionists and organic food specialists Joy Pierson and Bart Potenza, owners of the Candle Cafe, voted the top vegetarian restaurant in NYC for 1997. 264-497-6773.

Dream Honeymoon at La Petite Maison D'Amour

[Click for larger view of La Petite Maison d'Amour] After Hurricane Luis, the second email message I received was from a tourist worried about Karen Greenaway's house on Anguilla, La Petite Maison D'Amour. People really love this house, which is located on the coast, not far from Little Harbour. Then Keith and Joan Hays put a description of the house with pictures on their web site in the midwest (a recent picture of the Hays at Shoal Bay.)

Then a couple recommended it on the Anguilla Tête-à-Tête forum as a perfect honeymoon hideaway:

Look no further to plan your honeymoon. We got married in Anguilla (8/94), and were married at La Petite Maison D'Amour. It was the perfect site for our wedding and honeymoon, all planned and perfectly executed by its wonderful owner, Karen Greenaway, who made all arrangements down to the witnesses at our ceremony. Her home is beautiful, comfortable, intimate and romantic, and by far the best choice we've ever made in an island villa. Unless you can't live without room service, you will be glad you opted out of a resort ... The owner has poured her heart and soul into making her home a dream come true for all who have been lucky enough to discover this jewel in the Caribbean. Call Karen at (202)546-1427 for information and and a color brochure, or email her at ... You won't be sorry. Happy Honeymooning. Diane and Jean-Pierre
Then the owner Karen Greenaway put up a web page for her house and sent me these thoughts: [Click for larger view of villa on the shore]
Yes, honeymooners love the house. Actually, it's a love nest! Rates are $1300 per week in the Winter, $800 off-season, plus 8% government hotel tax. I'm an architectural designer and I physically built the house along with lots of Anguillian help. I also employed old construction techniques for the construction of the wooden portion. You lie in bed and look at the stars and lights on St. Martin--you even have great views from the toilet and the glass shower.

So I finally slipped out to the coast and snapped a view pictures of La Petite Maison d'Amour myself:

Hurricane Erika in Anguilla--Close Call!

Everyone on Anguilla battened down as Hurricane Erika threatened on Saturday, September 6th, 1997. So far the tropical storm season had been amazingly light in the islands -- reportedly due to El Nino. Anguilla escaped the full fury of this storm because it turned away at the last moment and just brushed past. But Erika was close enough for everyone to practice their hurricane preparedness (putting up shutters, plug cistern intakes, etc.).

People sent emails of concern all through the storm, as the wind gusted higher and wailed through the shutters. I posted updates to my main news page as the storm progressed, since we never did lose phone and Internet. If you were a subscriber to the Anguilla Mailing List you would have received regular hurricane analysis and commentary tailored to Anguilla from Vince Cate on Anguilla:

By the 5 AM forecast from the National Weather Service we should have little trouble. Erika is even more to the North. The closest point will be about 8 am and then still 60+ miles away. The winds should be less than 50 MPH if it stays on this track. At 5 am it was about 180 miles due East of Anguilla and moving west north-west (300 degrees) at 11 MPH. -- Vince

The power company announced that it is our responsibility to turn off the power in our house as the storm peaks -- they won't be responsible for damage to our appliances. On Sunday, after Erika had apparently passed by harmlessly, we were hit by trailing thunderstorms and rain, causing our power to go out for several hours.

If you check the Internet during a hurricane threat, remember that Anguilla is located at 18.1N 63.1W. Here are some good tropical weather links:

Bananas Thrive on Waste Water

[Banana plants-click for larger view] Despite the semi-arid climate, many homes in Anguilla have a banana patch. Bananas are an important part of the economy on many Caribbean islands, but not in Anguilla. Here they are grown by families for personal consumption, making use of the grey water from washing and sinks. You have to be careful harvesting bananas, since the juice from the stems can stain your clothes very badly. We learned this after Hurricane Bertha, when a house guest Bruce Toback and I waded out in a knee-deep puddle to harvest the banana crop before the plants died (don't worry, the main shoot normally dies after bearing fruit, but another one is always ready to start). Banana Stamp of Anguilla

Now there is a banana stamp from Anguilla too. Here is a web site that has the other fruit stamps from Anguilla with descriptions of the fruits.

The Banana is one of the regions' more popular fruits. Several Caribbean islands have built their economies around banana production, but have difficulty attaining the cost efficiencies of other locations. Unfortunately for them, the World Trade Organisation has recently upheld its finding that the European Union discriminated in favour of former colonies in banana imports. This is bad news for the Caribbean, since they will now have to compete and may lose market share.

The tasty fruit is generally eaten unprocessed but is widely used in a variety of recipes including the famous Banana Nut Bread.
To learn more about Bananas, visit the Banana Home Page on the web.

Although consumers in the North seldom see more than one variety of banana (the one that transports and handles best for international trade), the islands of the Caribbean sport numerous varieties of banana: smaller, purple, etc. These varieties often have a different, perhaps better, taste from those sold internationally. And of course there are also plantains, which look like large bananas and are related to bananas, but must actually be cooked before eating. Many tourists have been caught on that one and can tell you what a raw plantain tastes like.

Updates and Feedback

Feedback on Pressure King. Kenny Schik writes:
Thanks for the great little article on Pressure King. Before we visited Anguilla last year, we asked through AOL's travel billboard for info on Anguilla. We had several responses. One asked us specifically to see Pressure King. I printed that letter and took it with me. When I found him, I showed him the letter and told him I got it off the internet. He was sure proud! He is a great guy. One day, around 4'oclock, we were going to leave the beach. He knew us by then, and said "stay a little while longer, there's going to be a beautiful sunset. I'll buy you a beer." The three of us sat on the lounges, drank our beers and drank in the beautiful sunset. We were the only ones on the beach. I took pictures of him a couple nights later, dancing at Smitty's. I sent them to Smitty, and they better be up on the wall when we visit in March!

Update on Bank Accounts. In response to my article on opening a bank account:

Is the banking in Anguilla protected like the USA? (FDIC insurance?)

Great question. I should have pointed out that they aren't insured by anybody. Your deposits are protected by the assets of the bank itself.
Do you know what interest rate they pay on savings accounts?
Interest rates on savings accounts are 4% at most banks, but the method of calculating interest is not very depositer friendly (i.e., not daily interest on daily balance).

Feedback on Smitty. While browsing through the back issues of the Anguilla News, Terry Carden noticed our earlier article about Smitty's:

Thanks for publishing the photo and short write-up on Smitty's. I must respectfully take you to task for not including a stronger recommendation for having dinner with Smitty. Smitty has the best lobster prices on Anguilla, and also makes the best chicken on the planet. If you're lucky, he will be out of both for lunch and will grill you a piece of "old wife" (trigger fish) - it'll blow you away.

As an old Caribbean hand of more than 25 years, I can attest that Smitty is the "Real McCoy." The only thing bigger than his heart is the welcome he extends to visitors. My wife and I offered help to Smitty after the tragedy of Hurricane Luis, but, as with most Anguillian's, he preferred to pull hismself up by his own bootstraps. In short, visitors can piss away $200 on dinner at Pimms, or visit Smitty's for a taste of real Caribbean hospitality. [Editors note: Pimms never reopened after Luis, but Smitty's did!]

Feedback on Palm Grove Bar and Restaurant. And Terry Carden writes again, with a personal experience to add to my Palm Grove web page:

We had great low-key lunches Junks Hole Bar on our last visit, and the people are typically "Anguillian friendly." One day we accidentally ran out of cash there and had to cancel our orders. The owner wouldn't hear of us not eating and drinking - he served us terrific fish, cold beers and Tings and said, "No problem, come back later and pay me." I can't imagine this happening anywhere in the Caribbean except Anguilla.

Courtney Devonish to Exhibit in USA

[Courtney Devonish] Courtney Devonish of Anguilla has an exhibit of his wood sculptures and ceramics, "Touch Forms in Color,", at Lincoln University, Pennsylvania (one hour south of Philadelphia). The exhibit runs from September 25 to October 17, 1997. Carolyn Williams of Africana Homestead Legacy Publishers tells me that the opening reception is from 3-5 P.M. on Thursday, September 25th. For more information, contact Emery Wimbish, Jr., Librarian, 6109328300 Ext. 3261. The Special Collection's gallery hours are Monday-Thursday, 8:30 A.M.-5:00 P.M, 7:00 P.M.-10:00 P.M.; Friday 8:30 A.M.-5:00 P.M.; Saturday 12:00 P.M.- 5:00 P.M.

While at Lincoln, Courtney will also work with the Art Department, teaching in ceramics and sculpture classes. Another unique event will be a group of visually impaired members of the Philadelphia community visiting the exhibit, to touch the pieces, and meet Courtney.

The funding for the exhibit was provided by The Philadelphia Foundation, whose president, Carrolle Fair Perry, sponsored the exchange program that brought the Anguilla High School Steel Orchestra to Philadelphia and the Point Breeze Performing Arts Center Dance Troupe to Anguilla. In fact, a jazz trio from Point Breeze will perform in tribute to Courtney at the opening reception, as thanks for his hospitality.

Besides the Lincoln project, Courtney has also accepted the offer of the Clay Studio School of Philadelphia to be Artist in Residence from October 6 to October 31. So he will be quite busy, working and socializing with various members of the academic, arts, cultural, business and political communities.

Everyone in Anguilla knows the quality of Courtney's work, but here are excerpts from what the university had to say about him and his art:

"Elegant, simplistic contours... wood sculptures and ceramics, of birds, fish, the female, and semi-abstract forms,.. Devonish, who is both reserved yet gracious in disposition, was born February 5, 1944, in Chalky Mount, Barbados, a historic site with a legacy of producing potters. ... a degree with a triple major, in Arts and Crafts-sculpture, religious studies, and economic history, ... Coventry, England was the site of Devonish's first exhibits of his paintings and sculpture, ... Recipient of an OAS fellowship in Ceramic Technology in 1979, Devonish notably took an advanced study course in Italy.

One year after his 1987 assignment by the Canadian Training Awards program to establish a pottery workshop in Anguilla, Courtney relocated to the island. As a member of the Anguillan community, he is highly respected. In June of this year, Devonish opened a new 2000 square foot studio (half for sculpture and half ceramics), in the government-owned, newly renovated Factory Shell. Besides creating his own works, he trains two apprentices, and teaches ceramics to residents 8 years and older. He also owns and operates the Devonish Art Gallery in George Hill, selling the works of artists and craftsmen from the Caribbean and U.S.

Impressing a Caribbean Expert

Jim Jordon, who is the system operator of the Carribean Travel Forum on Compuserve, recently posted a glowing report on Anguilla to the Caribbean Travel Roundup. It is a great overview of Anguilla, written by an experienced Caribbean visitor on his first visit. Here is a small excerpt from his report:
Despite having previously visited more than half of the Caribbean countries, I fell totally and completely in love with Anguilla! ... I found the reluctance of those people to rush hurly-burly toward a plethora of strip shopping centers and a gaggle of gambling casinos and a herd of high-rise hotels, has afforded retention of a charm that's seldom seen in the Caribbean today.

All too soon, our week on Anguilla drew to an end and it was time to look toward returning home. Sigh. But, suffice to say that our stay was one that neither of us will ever forget! And, we attribute that to three things -- the graciousness of our hosts Gayle and Daryl, the beauty of Anguilla and the many delightful people who call this island home.

Hibernia, Island Harbor -- You just can't find a better restaurant than Mary Pat's Hibernia! It's small and intimate, it's classy and the food is out of THIS world! It's not just a meal -- it's truly an experience! I don't think I have ever had any food better prepared or better presented than the dinner we had on our final night on Anguilla. I think it's most fitting that Gayle and Daryl saved the very best for last. Yes, it is a bit pricey -- I picked up the tab that night, much to the chagrin of Daryl! But, it was worth every cent to delightfully "dine" rather than "eat out".

Doctor Fish / Blue Tang (Acanthurus Coerleus)

[Blue Tang-Click for more fish]

The Blue Tang sports a light colored sheath for its spine. Dark wavy lines run lengthwise on the body and fins. Of the Surgeonfishes, this species alone has young which differ greatly in color from the adults. These fish are also found in and around the coral reefs.

To see move tropical fish of Anguilla, visit the Fish Stamps web page created by Errol James.

Web Sites About Anguilla

Skiffles Has A Web Site. The Skiffles Villas in South Hill now have a web site and email. One of the interesting things is that every reservation comes with a Trip Cancellation Insurance Policy from Mutual of Omaha that covers your cost if you must cancel due to weather, family illness, etc.

Buy a Condo at Paradise Cove? There is a new web page on the Paradise Cove web site about buying one of their condominiums.

Rockets? According to this posting, a Texas company is interested in using Sombrero Island to launch rockets. Sombrero belongs to Anguilla, but is 30 miles north and has an important lighthouse on it., Mary Ann's tropical construction page has more building news: work has started on the guest villa.

"See Caribbean" Web Site. Here is another omnibus Caribbean site with a small Anguilla page.

The Hideout Villa. Here is a UK villa rental site with a page for the Hideout Villa in Cul-De-Sac. A West-Indian style villa overlooking Rendezvous Bay at $620/wk in the off-season is pretty reasonable.

Another Web Page for Sandy Point Villa. This vacation villa now has two web pages, apparently from two different booking agents. The latest is from Four Seasons Villas in Maine and the other is from Go Beach.

Some Dive Trip Reports. This site has links to various Anguilla information, focused on scuba diving. Some of the information is a little dated (pre Luis) but most is still valid. The divers like staying at FerryBoat Inn, which is still there and hasn't changed much: report one and report two.

Dominica has an Anguilla Page! The web site has a web page for anguilla, as well as other islands. It mainly lists names of businesses and phone numbers.

Continue virtual vacation with previous issue.

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Anguilla Local News